The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Saurav Thakur, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Flipkart’s move follows in the footsteps of Myntra, The fashion e-tailor that Flipkart acquired last year. Myntra shut down its website in May 2015 citing higher traffic from its app versus its desktop website.
Flipkart’s reasons are similar. 70-75% of its traffic comes from its app. According to Flipkart India is gradually transitioning from a mobile first to a mobile only country. Flipkart follows mobile first approach. They are constantly experimenting with various aspects of service to create the best shopping experience for users on mobile app. Meanwhile, they continue to offer both desktop as well as mobile option for their customers.
On 25th Aug Flipkart added a social feature ‘Ping’ to its app, has about 50 million monthly active users of its mobile app. According to Flipkart Chief Product Officer Punit Soni, Flipkart is mainly focused on developing products for mobile devices as there is a huge market. 900 million people today have mobile phones in the country.
However there is no timeline on shutting down any other format as well as nothing has been decided to go app-only.
When online retailers kill their websites and go app-only, they point to the ubiquitousness of mobile phones to explain their strategy. Nearly everyone has a cell phone, and Smartphone’s are becoming commonplace, so they will claim they are just following their customers.
This makes sense, but why eliminate the website altogether? The probable answer lies in the cookie—those byte-sized pieces of information that help construct an identikit of visitors to websites. A cookie is there for everyone to take a bite from, and online retailers are naturally not eager to share this snack with competitors. There is no such problem with an app.